Now that we all survived that basketball ordeal last night, it’s time to turn our attention back to Northwestern football, which isn’t stressful at all, right? The Wildcats are looking to win their fifth straight game and hopefully won’t require a fourth straight week of overtime to do it. Let’s see if our staff thinks the Cats can get one or both of those things done.
Will Ragatz: Purdue 23, Northwestern 21
I have predicted three straight Northwestern losses. They have won all three. I’m not messing with that mojo. I’ll let everyone else provide real analysis.
Davis Rich: Northwestern 21, Purdue 13
The cold, the snow, and the defensive nature of these two teams means this game will probably be a slog. Justin Jackson and Jeremy Larkin will get plenty of opportunities against a stout Purdue run defense. However, it will be Clayton Thorson’s ability to continue his solid play at Ryan Field that carries Northwestern’s offense down the field. Four of Purdue’s five losses have been by one possession or less — this is an improved Boilermaker bunch. Yet the loss of David Blough hurts, and it’s hard to see Purdue moving the ball well come Saturday night. Northwestern makes it five wins in a row.
Caleb Friedman: Northwestern 24, Purdue 14
It’s going to be a cold and possibly rainy night at Ryan Field, so I foresee a whole lot of defense in this one. Justin Jackson gets over 100 yards and Clayton Thorson makes just enough throws for Northwestern to move to 7-3.
Noah Coffman: Purdue 24, Northwestern 20
Like Will, I have picked against Northwestern in each of their three overtime wins. I’m also afraid to pick them now, and I can talk myself into a Purdue upset — the Boilermakers have a solid defense and have played teams around Northwestern’s caliber consistently close. I’m slightly jaded on this front, but it also seems like a ripe time for a classic Northwestern collapse, and while I hope it doesn’t happen, Purdue is the type of low-lying, sneaky-decent team that could spring a trap on them. As long as Clayton Thorson continues to largely scuffle, Purdue will have a chance to overcome what should be big games from the Northwestern rushing attack and defensive front to steal a win.
Tristan Jung: Northwestern 30, Purdue 17
Unlike Will and Noah, I have somehow been on the right side of two of the three overtime games, and I think Northwestern keeps it rolling here. Purdue is really suffering from a lack of depth and injuries, they’re on the road, and they don’t really have the offensive upside of the other six Big Ten teams Northwestern has played. I think Northwestern manages a routine home win.
Talia Hendel: Northwestern 24, Purdue 17
Purdue’s record doesn’t due justice to their ability to compete, as all of their losses have been very close games. However, the loss of David Blough to injury will certainly make it more difficult for the Boilermakers on offense. Sophomore Elijah Sindelar will be stepping into the starting spot, but has logged plenty of snaps this season and might be up to the challenge. That said, even with Purdue’s pass-heavy offense, both Northwestern’s rushing and passing defense have looked incredibly solid recently, and I’d be surprised if they aren’t able to keep the receivers contained and come out with a win.
Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 21, Purdue 10
Points will be at a premium in this game and while these team’s are comparable defensively, Northwestern’s offense is simply better than a Blough-less Purdue offense. Expect another one of those “that’s just Big Ten Football” games which is actually just boring football. Cats by double digits.